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Inspiring a love of learning

“Inspiring a love of learning”

‘The lessons and the teachers are really good and I’ve made so many more friends since starting the sixth form’ Emily, Year 12

‘I’ve been able to achieve a level of independence but still rely on the support of staff I know when I’ve needed it’ Beth, Year 13

‘To begin with I was nervous about meeting new people but everyone has been welcoming. The subjects I chose are right for me and the teachers are helpful. Coming here was the right decision’ A new student who started in Yr 12

“I taught in several schools and I was only blessed with sons but I firmly believe that if I had a daughter I would want her to go to this school because I am aware at first hand of the dedication of all of its staff to the care and education of the girls. This school does realise that it is precious cargo that it carries.” A former teacher

Target Setting

Pupils are no longer given KS3 targets. For comparison and an indication of progress pupils will be given an initial attainment Level for Key Stage 3 based on the average result for their Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) in Y7. These are usually taken in the first week of the Autumn term and provide a good indication of a pupil’s general ability. The elements are Verbal, Non-verbal, Spatial and Quantitative. The tests are not something that pupils need to worry about as they cannot revise for them.

Individual subjects will provide an indication of the expectations at each part of Key Stage 3 for each attainment level. Pupils will endeavour to ‘Master’ the work at the appropriate level for them. If they continue to ‘master’ the work at each step they will be making suitable progress and be on a suitable trajectory to achieve excellent GCSE targets at the end of Y11 for their initial starting point. Pupils are not expected to climb up through the Ability Levels to be demonstrating good progress. It will be the case that many pupils do work at a higher level than their initial attainment might suggest and all pupils will be given challenge appropriate to their needs.

Pupils will have the same initial attainment level comparison for all subjects. The levels are fairly broad and are an indication of expectation for typical pupils of that starting point. As all pupils have their strengths and weaknesses, teachers will always assess the level that they feel appropriate for the individual for each of the Key Concepts. A pupil in Maths might work at ‘Confident’ level in Expressions, Ratio and Measures but work at a ‘Developing’ level in Data. Teachers will continue to tailor the teaching and expectations as necessary to meet everyone’s needs.

If pupils exceed their level descriptors then they will be able to clearly see the expectations for all the other level descriptors. They will not have their initial level altered as it provides a baseline to measure progress. All pupils will be expected to focus on the specific feedback (diagnostic comments) on their learning as opposed to focussing on the level. For this reason the feedback to pupils will primarily be through diagnostic feedback, reports 3 times a year will summarise progress relative to the descriptors at each level and at the end of the year there will be summative tests for English and Maths.

At Key Stage 4, pupils do not receiving any GCSE targets. Current research indicates that targets can have a negative effect on achievement in a variety of ways. To reinforce the message with pupils that there are no ceilings to achievement and to focus them on specific improvements to learning there will be no individual targets.


As a guideline to the grades that we expect each initial attainment level to achieve at GCSE:

Expert                   -grade 9

Confident            -grade 7 or 8

Secure                  -grade 5 or 6                                       (grade 5 is the new gold standard, approximately B-)

Developing         -grades 3 or 4    

Accessing            -targets might be more bespoke.